Paul Chow’s 149th and 150th goals in a Whitley Bay shirt helped Ian Chandler’s side move up to third in the Northern League table after a hugely impressive 3-1 win at Ashington. Brian Smith headed the third for Bay, Ashington replying late in the game through Gareth Bainbridge. Sunderland RCA stay top on goal difference after strikes from Andy Jennings and Lee Owens sealed a 2-0 home win over Billingham Synthonia. A late winner at South Shields from Mattie Moffat – his 15th league goal of the season – kept West Auckland Town on the Wearsiders’ heels, Peter Dixon’s side eventually triumphing 4-3 in a see-saw game which had seen the home side 2-1 up with an hour played. Defending champions Spennymoor maintained their pursuit, a second half penalty from Sonny Andrews enough for a 1-0 win at Billingham Town and fourth place in the table.
At the other end, Jarrow Roofing went down 2-0 at home to Norton, Nathan Mulligan scoring twice as Norton, without a goalkeeper on the bench, saw Chris Porter forced off with a muscle injury just ten minutes into the game. Substitute defender Dave Alderson kept a clean sheet for 30 minutes before injuring his knee, midfielder Paul Grainger keeping the home side at bay for the remaining hour. Roofing are now fourth from bottom, a single point ahead of Billingham Town. Guisborough won 2-1 at bottom club Stokesley to move away from a relegation zone which Tow Law Town – 3-0 losers at Bishop Auckland with the league’s top scorer Andy Johnson once again among the goals – remain very firmly ensconced in. Last season’s Division Two champions Newton Aycliffe drew 1-1 at Bedlington and stay sixth, while Marske United’s impressive 2-1 home win over Newcastle Benfield pushed them into midtable.
The full table can be seen here.
In Division Two, a double strike from Peter Watling gave leaders Team Northumbria a 2-1 win at Gillford Park, dropping the Carlisle side down to sixth in the table. There were big wins elsewhere for North Shields and West Allotment, who put five past Ryton and Seaham Red Star to stay second and fourth in the table. Bottom club Easington lost 5-2 at home to Hebburn Town and remain five points adrift of Horden, who went down 3-1 at Northallerton Town.
With more than half of the season already played, the promotion places look likely to be filled by Team Northumbria, North Shields and one of Esh Winning, West Allotment, Gillford Park and – just possibly – Hebburn Town. At the bottom, Easington’s off-the-pitch problems threaten to doom the club to a swift exit from the Northern League if Ryhope CW’s ground passes its latest inspection, though Horden CW in particular are still catchable if Andy Colledge is given the time and resources to field a settled team.